Characteristics of subjects with schizophrenia spectrum disorder with and without antipsychotic medication - a 10-year follow-up of the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort study

Eur Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;28(1):53-8. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2011.06.009. Epub 2011 Sep 14.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of non-medicated subjects having schizophrenia spectrum disorder and to study how they differ from medicated subjects in terms of sociodemographic and illness-related variables. We also aim to find the predictors for successful antipsychotic withdrawal.

Methods: Data of 70 subjects with schizophrenic psychoses (mean duration of illness 10.4 years) from the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort were gathered by interview at the age of 34 and from hospital records. The stability of remission was assessed by comparing hospitalization rates between non-medicated and medicated subjects over an 8.7-year additional follow-up period.

Results: Twenty-four (34%) subjects were currently not receiving medication. They were more often males, less often on a disability pension, more often in remission, and had better clinical outcomes. Relapses during the follow-up were equally frequent between non-medicated and medicated subjects (47% vs. 56%). Not having been hospitalised during previous 5 years before the interview predicted long-term successful antipsychotic withdrawal without relapse.

Conclusions: Despite a lack of precise predictors, there might be subgroup of schizophrenia spectrum subjects who do not need permanent antipsychotic medication, and a fewer previous psychiatric treatments may indicate such a subgroup.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Recurrence
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / epidemiology*
  • Sex Factors


  • Antipsychotic Agents